June 28, 2011

SCOTUS decides in favor of speech

In Monday’s decision striking down the California law preventing sales of violent video games to minors, the Supreme Court worked hard to make sure we understood the difference between pornography, which is not protected speech, and violence, which is protected speech.

In case it’s confusing to you, as it is to me, here are some clarifying points, courtesy of Justice Scalia’s majority opinion.
"Like the protected books, plays and movies that preceded them, video games communicate ideas – and even social messages – through many familiar literary devices (such as characters, dialogue, plot, and music) and through features distinctive to the medium (such as the player’s interaction with the virtual world. That suffices to confer First Amendment protection."
"Because speech about violence is not obscene, it is of no consequence that California's statute mimics the New Yokr statue regarding obscenity-for-minors... "
"...disgust is not a valid basis for restricting expression."
Just one question, though.  Why is it that a baker's dozen of naked folks plotting to explore another character's development, complete with steamy background music and clearly expressive (albeit limited) dialogue, is not considered protected speech?   I mean, it's got all of the elements - characters, dialogue, plot, and music - that Justice Scalia said make the violent video games protected. 
Oh wait - it's that disgust factor, isn't it? 

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